How to capture your best baby and toddler moments on holiday – plus £10 off your next photo book

We’ve all been there. You’ve thrown the dinner party of dreams. Everything was flawless… from the pastries that didn’t burn, to the scented candles that transported your guests to Hawaii, to the dress that made you feel invincible. Your guests have begun to leave, reluctantly, as the music winds down and you give yourself a figurative and literal pat on the back. You are the hostess the mostess, people will be talking about your lemon posset for years, you could lead a seminar in how to throw the perfect dinner party. There’s just one nagging feeling. One single thing that consumes you as you retire to bed. You have not taken a single photograph.

We’ve all felt this same sinking feeling at the end of a holiday too, right? We all know that being in the moment means putting down our phones more but taking photographs (especially the old fashioned kind) really is a wonderful way to remember a holiday with the little ones, capture that togetherness, and show your adult children what they used to wear….

But it’s also challenging to get your family (who are we kidding…) kids, to sit still and smile at the same time. Here are our best tips on how to capture those perfect family moments which then allows you to create a photo book worth putting on display.

1. Get candid

We’re sure you’ve heard this before, but what do we really mean? It means stop worrying about having everyone in shot, or dragging people from the pool for picture time. You’re bound to have much more success if you simply see a moment that’s worth capturing, and go for it! Toddlers are tricky to pin down and babies are unpredictable, so it’s best to seize the moment when you get the chance.

2. Get in the picture

Parents are forever chasing their little ones with the camera and rarely in shot. This has to change! Make sure to hand the camera to your partner, mum or friend and ask them to take a photo of you and your child when you least expect it.

 

3. Get close and personal

Babies and toddlers change every single day. From their eyelashes to their toes, every detail is something you will want to look back on. And a relaxing holiday is the perfect time to get out your camera and zoom in on these little features, whether they’re playing on the beach, or asleep at lunch.

 

4. Timing is everything

Choose your moment well and you will reap the benefits. It’s no good trying to get a tired, hungry or fussy baby or toddler to sit still and look charming. Make sure you take pictures throughout the day, have your camera to hand at all times, so you can whip it out when the right moment strikes.

 

5. Talk to your toddler

Instead of stopping the conversation and asking them to wait while you snap them, continue chatting away and talking to them as you take pictures. This way you engage them and encourage them to be as natural as possible without making them self-conscious in front of a camera.

We hope that helps! Most importantly enjoy all that precious time with your family and don’t stress. Once you return and collect your best images, it’s simple and enjoyable to transform them into a photo book with Bob Books.

We’re giving Holiday Tots’ customers a special £10 off photo books, visit http://www.bobbooks.co.uk/holidaytots to find out how to order your book today

 

A year with Konfidence – they have swimming with babies, toddlers and older children covered!

We were lucky enough to be sent a Konfidence bundle towards the end of last year, here’s how we got on.

Konfidence

Reviewers Mum Bronwyn and baby Georgia.

We used the Konfidence Babywarma Baby Swimsuit when Georgia went swimming for the first time. As first time parents we were nervous to put our 4 month old in the water and even though the pool was heated we wanted to make sure she didn’t get cold. The Babywarma is made of a high-grade soft neoprene with velcro at the top bottom and sides to ensure a snug fit. It was perfect and Georgia loved her first swim. These are available from £16.99 in a variety of colours.

When we got back from our holiday we had to keep up the swimming as Georgia just loved the water – Our local leisure centre has a teaching pool and they had an under 5’s swim which i thought i’d try. It was daunting thinking of how i was going to achieve this on my own but i packed the Babywarma and the Roll & Go Baby changing mat and we were off.

The changing mat is made of soft cushioned neoprene and had a non slip backing. I had to change her on the counter top so it was great that the mat didn’t slip and slide around. We’ve since taken up swimming lessons and the Roll & Go mat gets packed every week. At only £9.99 you really cant go wrong!

Georgia is now a year old and on our recent family holiday to the South of France she tried out the Floatsuit.  She still needs a bit of practise to get her balance wearing it unaided. Perhaps she’s a bit young so will give it another try on our next holiday when she’s a bit older.

The Floatsuit is on sale a the moment, get yours directly from Konfidence

They have a great range not only for babies but everyone in the family. From children and adult swim jackets, wetsuits and neoprene t-shirts to neoprene beach boots and UV hats. If you are planning a holiday near the beach or somewhere with a pool make sure you check out the Konfidence website before you go.

Looking forward to baby’s next year with Konfidence!

A travel cot for every occasion

We were lucky enough to be sent 3 travel cots to review. Here’s how they fared.

We were sent the Phil & Teds Traveller, the Nuna Sena Aire and the Baby Bjorn Travel Cot light. All 3 are brilliant products and all stand out in different situations.

PHIL AND TEDS TRAVELLER

The Phil & Teds Traveller is the smallest and most compact (weighing a total of 2.8kgs) making it great when travelling by plane as you can pack it in your luggage and not have it take up too much space. It can be used inside and outside (you can get a nifty shade mesh for £19.00) and doubles as a play pen for your little ones.  It comes with a fairly thin self-inflating mattress which wasn’t as good as the other two we reviewed, however with it being quite compact there was a benefit to it  . The assembly was easy enough once we got our heads around it (think smaller tent) and it felt sturdy. Coming in at £139.00, the Phil & Teds is good value for money. You can add fitted sheets from £19.00 for 2.

Available to purchase from Mothercare

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BABY BJORN TRAVEL COT LIGHT

The Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Light comes in at 6kgs making it lightweight and portable. When you open the carry bag you are able to lift the travel cot up and set it up in one movement. We used this on a recent weekend away – it was perfect. Small enough to not take up too much room in the car and sturdy and comfortable enough for our baby to have a good nights sleep. The mattress folds in half and sits around the frame fitting nicely into the carry bag. The mattress cover and travel cot fabric are washable too. At around the £200 mark, this is at the higher end for a travel cot but it is a good quality and will last. A fitted sheet is available to buy separately for £21.99.

We found it at John Lewis for £199.99.

NUNA SENA AIRE 

The Sena Aire weighs 10kgs and is quite large so I would recommend this product for grand parents houses / holiday homes. It is portable but you will struggle getting it in the car / on the plane with all your other baby bits. The Aire delivers maximum air flow. Its easy and breezy and its all machine washable. The set up is easy and it folds with 1 hand. What we liked was the upper cot level, so it’s perfect from birth. Its also the only travel cot with an upper cot that folds with the frame. At £180.00 it is a mid range travel cot but does include a travel bag and organic cotton sheet as standard.

Available to purchase directly from Nuna.

As you can see, each of the above travel cots have their own pro’s and con’s. If I had to choose one, I would go for the Phil & Teds Traveller as I can use it at at the grandparents, when we go away for the weekend and even when we’re flying somewhere.

ergoPouch REVIEW – The award-winning sleep suit bag

A sleep suit that easily converts into legs making the transition from cot to pram or car very easy. Designed in Australia using natural fibres that are soft and breathable and less likely to aggravate itchy skins. They are tog rated to measure thermal resistance for different seasons. We were given a Spring/Autumn Sleep Suit bag (1.0 Tog) to try out.

Reviewers: Bronwyn and Georgia.

Here’s how mum Bronwyn and baby Georgia got on:

Georgia has been sleeping in her Sleep Suit for about 2 months and is loving it. She had been using a sleeping bag as opposed to a blanket for a while now but she seemed to be getting frustrated and tangled up as she is a little wriggler. The fact that this sleep suit can be converted into legs was very intriguing to me and I did this on night one. We’ve never looked back. I love that it gives my baby a good night’s sleep.
The ergoPouch Sleep Suit is high a quality product and I could feel the difference to other sleep suits the moment I took it out of the packaging. I knew that Georgia would be comfortable – and it washes well too! We have an 8-24-month size and I am confident it will last until she is at least 2 years old!

Pros:
– High Quality Material (Eco Friendly)
– Washes Well
– Easy Access for nappy changes
– Use in Car Seat / pram (with harness) and easy transition into the cot.

Cons:
– The Price is higher than most sleeping bags but I feel it is well worth it because of the quality.

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ergoPouch is an Award-Winning sleeping bag made from breathable fibres which keep your little ones body temperature constant. It is a safe way for to keep your baby warm without the need for blankets and perfect from birth. It makes nappy changes easy and is safe for use in the car seat / pram too.

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ergoPouch is now available in John Lewis and the price ranges from £49.99 and £59.99.

 

Family glamping in Devon, five luxury lodges, ideal for families of six or even a group getaway for 30.

We have had a lot of last minute enquiries from families looking for a glamping experience in Devon, especially here at these beautiful lodges situated in a secluded valley on the Western border of Exmoor National Park.

This stunning family-friendly glamping site books up early but they do have some availability for September and October, which is a lovely time of the year to holiday with family and friends.

If you are new to glamping and are a little worried about how comfortable you will feel look at these, you won’t be disappointed. I am trying to get a group together to hire the whole place as it looks ideal for all members of the family, all ages and for all occasions!

 

These fabulous child-friendly holiday lodges are bordered by streams and woods and there is even a private lake. There are two skiffs: Oxford and Cambridge, perfect for one adult and one child in each, so why not race around the lake island!? Life jackets are provided too. For fishermen in the family the lake is stocked with over one hundred rainbow trout and if you can catch one you are welcome to cook on the BBQ back at your lodge.

 

The woods offer fabulous family-friendly walks any time of year. There are streams and water falls and nature trails to follow. They are very well sheltered and so can even offer a fab day out for the family even when it is raining!

 

 

 

 

For the sporty members of the family there are a number of outdoor games available to play on the lakeside meadow: petanque, cricket and badminton. There is also a football goal on the football field and a cricket net, basketball and netball hoop plus giant chess.

 

Babies and toddlers are well looked after here, little ones will love the cupboard bed. The cabin bed can convert into a cot or the owners can provide a travel cot if you prefer. The twin room has black out blinds. The cabin bed is also home to a secret den, a small hideaway with an inventive mind can turn into anything! In each lodge there is a high chair, toddler plates etc, if you need more the owners can supply, just let them know.

 

The owner can also provide babysitting if the adults fancy a night out.

 

The newest addition to this family glamping site in Devon is the hot tub! Offering amazing views over the lake and valley and down to the sea, what could be more relaxing than chilling with a glass of bubbly! The hot tub can be used for up to six people, children are welcome over the age of six and the owners can arrange babysitting for babies and toddlers younger than this.

 

For a touch of luxury on Wednesday afternoons visit the Spa Barn and choose from a list of relaxing massages.

 

You can even take time out from cooking as the owners can offer fresh baked bread, croissants, chocolate twists etc, supply a perfect picnic or even prepare a scrumptious supper. The onsite farm larder shop is stocked with lots of goodies, local produce, beautiful homewares, traditional children’s toys and more.

 

The lodges here are beautiful; there are five in total all of which are fully equipped with home-from-home luxuries, including Egyptian cotton bedlinen! They have private shower cabins within the lodge and a wood burning stove if the nights get a little chilly.

 

The lodges are ideal for a family of up to six sleeping in three bedrooms and also perfect for a group get together, special occasions etc. The five lodges can be rented out to accommodate 30 people and there is also a party barn where the whole party can be seated for a special event or just to gather together. The barn is available for hire at a cost of just £15 per head, but is free if you book all five lodges. There is also a catering service with an extensive menu to choose from.

 

Located just minutes from the beaches, towns and villages surely you can’t wish for a better way to spend time with family and friends…

Click here to find out more and enquire: Nr Combe, Devon

Mountain Buggy Nano review – for parents who want to live life with no limits

Mountain Buggy is a brand with a reputation – wanting to create a buggy suitable for all terrain, they have been developing and innovating for over 20 years a range of products that match the needs of active parents.

Reviewers: Alex, Fay and Leo

We were asked to try out the Mountain Buggy Nano – their travellers buggy of choice – see how Alex, Fay and Leo fared on their recent holiday to Portugal.

Over the course of a week we really tested the buggy’s build quality on different terrains. I honestly expected the wheels to give way at some point as we took many off-road walks over hard bumpy surfaces. To my surprise the buggy excelled on all conditions with no signs of damage.

We had a day of rain while we were away and the rain cover worked well to protect Leo. We actually doubled up and used the rain cover on the beach to shield from the blowing sand as it was quite windy which worked pretty well.

 

Initially it did take some time for us to work out how to assemble the buggy and use the folding mechanism.  But after a few attempts it became second nature.

There is an option to attach a car seat to the buggy which makes life a lot easier when you have a sleeping baby that you don’t want to disturb. Again, it took some time to work out how to properly attach the car seat and it did prove to be a bit fiddly as you have to manually loop two long elastic straps around a toggle.

 

Our day to day buggy is not travel friendly at all, so I was keen to try something that was easy to use and comfortable for my baby. The Nano certainly delivered on that, Leo never seemed unhappy in the Nano and would often sleep in it too.

 

We stayed in a hotel that unfortunately had lots of stairs and a lack of lifts – to reach the hotel restaurant we had to tackle 2 sets of 30-plus stairs.  Fortunately for us the Nano was lightweight and made the stairs a small inconvenience instead of a big problem.  I even managed to navigate easily down some steep stairs that led down from a cliff to the beach.

Whilst it I wouldn’t say the buggy is the most aesthetically pleasing on the market, it’s design is still rather pleasant. For a premium priced product though I would hope for a little more on that front.


I am really impressed with how much the product is suited to travelling with a baby. When you’re not using it, it folds away into a small light space much like a camping chair. It’s a clever design and saves a lot of space. The fact you can also use your car seat on the buggy was a huge plus when transferring from taxi to airport etc.

The storage space underneath the seat was a welcome bonus as it is large enough to store our large changing bag and towels and this proved invaluable for long walks to the beach.

Pros:

  • Folding mechanism
  • Robustness
  • Adaptability
  • Lightweight
  • Storage space

Cons:

  • Car seat attachment is a little fiddly

 

Rating

Functionality / usability – 9

Aesthetics and design – 8

Value for money –  7

Quality – 9

Innovativeness – 7

 

 The mountain buggy Nano retails at £249.00

Along with their other brands Phil & Ted’s and Mokopuna Merino, Mountain Buggy really focus on allowing parents to live life with no limits. Specialists in travelling with kids in tow, they have been innovators of design since 1992 – all stemming from a father and his dream to tackle the terrains of New Zealand with his baby

 

You can have a look on their website here: The mountain buggy Nano

Nurture One nesting cushion review – Independent baby sleeping anywhere

South African based nurtureOne developed their pillow in order to help parents provide a secure, peaceful, resting environment for their little one. Ahead of its launch in the UK, we were asked to give our thoughts on the product, having had one since Georgia’s early days here, 10 months ago.

Reviewers: Kieran, Bronwyn and Georgia.

The nurtureOne pillow is a brilliant quality product. It washes well and is made from very high quality fabric and can be folded / rolled up so no problems taking it away with us (which we did quite a bit).

Essentially it is a pillow, so there’s no confusion on how to get the best use out of it. We’ve had Georgia sleeping in her crib, in the bed, on the sofa and even in our laps – all the while feeling comfortable and confident she was safe and secure.

 

We started using the pillow when Georgia was about a week old and wouldn’t sleep – and if she did she had to sleep on us. I remembered the nurtureOne had been bought as a present by my step-mother so thought I’d give it a go – and amazingly she started sleeping on the pillow, not us!

From then, I would use the pillow in her crib, and if I had her sleeping in the bed with me. I felt confident she was safe and that this was one less thing I would have to worry about. It is also great for feeding – we would feed her whilst she lay on the pillow, meaning if she fell asleep on the bottle, transferring her to her crib would mean she wasn’t disturbed.

We travelled to France when she was just 3 weeks old, and I wasn’t going without this pillow. It rolled up quite compact and was a godsend on our holiday. She slept just as she would at home, and I am convinced this was because she felt content in her pillow. We travelled to South Africa 4 months later and it worked this time round too. It didn’t matter where we were, or which cot / bed she was sleeping in, it was just like being at home in her crib.

The biggest benefits we found was that she started sleeping a little more independently – this gave me a break, and a chance to get a few hours of sleep too. It makes travelling easier, washes well and dries very quickly – often I would run it through the machine in the morning, and it would be dry and ready come night time. The cost is £90, but if I had to do it again, I would pay that instantly. My husband has bought the pillow as a gift for 2 of his expectant friends, and would say it is the best gift he can give a new parent – the gift of sleep!

We stopped using it when she grew out of it at about 8 months, but by then she had a strong sleeping routine and so there didn’t seem to be any issue.

 

Pros:

  • Provides a comfortable cacoon like place for baby to sleep
  • Easy to transport so your baby doesn’t realise she’s sleeping in a different environment
  • Washes Well
  • Easy to transfer baby from cuddling to cot – this is supposed to be brilliant for breast feeding babies but I didn’t breast feed so wasn’t able to comment on this.

Cons:

  • Price, retailing at £90 for a pillow can be considered on the more expensive side.

 

Rating

Functionality / usability – 10

Aesthetics and design – 10

Value for money –  7

Quality – 9

Innovativeness – 7

 

The nurtureOne cushion retails at £90

Designed and developed in South Africa by Jenny Spiro and Esther Nieder-Heitmann, the nurtureOne pillow is said to be an ideal sensory environment for your baby, allowing for a smooth transition from feeding to crib, regulating body temperature and sustaining good sleeping patterns

You can have a look on their website here: nurtureOne